Geographical Indication

In this law article, you will read about the Geographical Indication (GI) in India along with some examples, their benefits, treaties related to it, and the registration process.

What Is Geographical Indication?

Geographical Indication (GI) is a type of intellectual property right that defines a product as being from a specific geographical place where a particular quality, reputation, or other characteristic of the product is primarily due to its geographical origin. GIs can be applied to various products, such as agricultural, natural, or manufactured goods.

Bare Act PDFs

In India, the Geographical Indications of Goods (Registration and Protection) Act of 1999 provides the legal framework for the protection of geographical indications. The Act came into force in September 2003 and is in line with the Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) under the World Trade Organization (WTO).

Examples of Registered Geographical Indications in India

Here are the examples of five popular Geographical Indications that are registered in India:

1. Darjeeling Tea

  • Region: Darjeeling, West Bengal
  • Description: Darjeeling tea is renowned for its unique flavour and aroma and is grown in the specific geographical region of Darjeeling.

2. Basmati Rice

  • Region: Various states, including Punjab, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand, and parts of Jammu & Kashmir and Delhi
  • Description: Basmati rice is a long-grain aromatic rice known for its distinctive fragrance and long, slender grains.

3. Banarasi Sarees

  • Region: Varanasi (Banaras), Uttar Pradesh
  • Description: Banarasi sarees are traditional silk sarees known for their intricate designs and luxurious silk fabric.

4. Champagne

  • Region: Protected in the European Union, but Champagne-style sparkling wine produced in India can use the term “Indian Champagne.”
  • Description: Champagne is a sparkling wine produced in the Champagne region of France.

5. Pochampally Ikat

  • Region: Pochampally, Telangana
  • Description: Pochampally Ikat is a traditional weaving style known for its geometric patterns and vibrant colours.

Benefits of Geographical Indications

Geographical Indications (GIs) offer several benefits to producers, consumers, and regions. Here are some key advantages associated with the protection and use of geographical indications:

  • GIs help preserve and promote the unique cultural heritage, traditions, and craftsmanship associated with a specific geographical region. This contributes to the identity and distinctiveness of local cultures.
  • It provides a competitive advantage to products originating from a specific region, leading to increased market value. This, in turn, supports the economic development of the region by providing income opportunities for local producers.
  • GIs are a mark of quality and authenticity. Consumers associate products with specific geographical indications as having unique qualities or characteristics that result from the region’s natural conditions, traditional practices, or expertise. This builds consumer confidence and trust.
  • GIs create a distinct identity for products, differentiating them from similar products in the market. This branding helps products stand out and can be a valuable marketing tool both domestically and internationally.
  • GIs enjoy legal protection, and producers can take legal action against unauthorized use or misuse of the indication. This helps prevent the misappropriation of the reputation and goodwill associated with the product.
  • GIs often involve traditional knowledge and practices that have been passed down through generations. The protection of GIs recognizes and promotes the value of this traditional knowledge.
  • GIs can attract tourists interested in experiencing and purchasing unique regional products. This can boost tourism in the area and contribute to the promotion of local culture.

Treaties Involved in the Protection of Geographical Indications

Three important international treaties that are involved in the protection of Geographical Indications (GIs) are:

1. Paris Convention for the Protection of Industrial Property (1883)

The Paris Convention is one of the oldest and most significant international treaties related to intellectual property. While it primarily focuses on patents, trademarks, and industrial designs, it also provides a framework for the protection of geographical indications. Article 2 of the Paris Convention addresses the protection of appellations of origin and geographical indications. The treaty establishes a minimum standard of protection and provides a basis for countries to recognize and protect GIs.

Bare Act PDFs

2. Lisbon Agreement for the Protection of Appellations of Origin and their International Registration (1958)

The Lisbon Agreement is specifically designed to protect appellations of origin, which are a subset of GIs. It establishes an international registration system for appellations of origin, allowing for a single registration to provide protection in multiple member countries. The agreement is administered by the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO).

3. Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) under the World Trade Organization (WTO) (1994)

TRIPS is a comprehensive international agreement that sets minimum standards for the protection of various forms of intellectual property, including GIs. TRIPS, under Articles 22 to 24, provides a framework for the protection of geographical indications. It requires member countries of the WTO to provide legal means for interested parties to prevent the use of GIs for goods not originating in the indicated place, or in the case of wines and spirits, where the use of the GI would mislead the public as to the true origin of the product.

Registration of Geographical Indications

In December 1999, the Indian Parliament passed the Geographical Indications of Goods (Registration and Protection) Act. The purpose of this Act is to improve the protection and registration of geographical indicators associated with goods in India.

The Controller General of Patents, Designs, and Trade Marks — who also serves as the Registrar of Geographical Indications — would be in charge of carrying out the Act. Chennai is where the Geographical Indications Registry is situated. The Act started to take effect on September 15, 2003.

Indications That Are Not Registrable

Under the Geographical Indications of Goods (Registration and Protection) Act of 1999, certain indications are not registrable as geographical indications. Section 9 of the Act specifies the grounds on which an application for registration may be refused.

While the Act generally encourages the registration of genuine geographical indications, there are restrictions to prevent misuse or registration of indications that do not meet the criteria. Here are some indications that are not registrable under the Geographical Indications Act:

  • Geographical indications that have become customary names for goods in the language or customary in the bona fide and established practices of the trade are not registrable.
  • Indications that may deceive or cause confusion concerning the origin, nature, or characteristics of the goods are not eligible for registration.
  • Indications that are contrary to public order or morality are not registrable. This is to prevent the registration of names that may be offensive or inappropriate.
  • An indication that identifies the kind, nature, quality, quantity, or characteristics of the goods or their intended purpose is generally not registrable. The purpose is to reserve such indications for general use.
  • Geographical indications that have lost their distinctive character and have become generic terms for the goods concerned are not eligible for registration.
  • If an indication is not protected as a geographical indication in its country of origin, it may not be registrable in India.
  • Indications that are likely to mislead the public or trade as to the origin of the goods or as to the nature, quality, or geographical indication of the goods are not registrable.

Who Can Apply for the Registration of a Geographical Indication?

Any group of individuals, manufacturers, organizations, or authorities established by or under legal authority may submit an application.

  • The applicant should represent the interests of the producers.
  • The application must be in writing in the prescribed form.
  • The application should be addressed to the Registrar of Geographical Indications along with the prescribed fee.

Duration for the Registration of Geographical Indications

  1. The initial registration period for a geographical indication is ten years from the date of filing the application.
  2. After the initial ten-year period, the registration can be renewed for successive periods of ten years each. The renewal application should be filed with the Geographical Indications Registry along with the requisite fee.
  3. Renewing the registration is essential to maintaining the protection of the geographical indication. It ensures that the rights associated with the GI continue without interruption.
  4. There is no limit on the number of times a registration can be renewed. As long as the renewal fees are paid, the registration remains in force.
  5. To be eligible for renewal, the registered proprietor is generally required to demonstrate that the geographical indication is still in use. Continuous use is a key factor in maintaining the registration.
  6. If a registered geographical indication is not renewed, it is liable to be removed from the register.


While GIs bring numerous benefits, their successful implementation requires awareness among producers, proper registration procedures, and ongoing efforts to ensure the quality and authenticity of the products associated with the geographical indications. Overall, GIs contribute to the sustainable development of regions, the preservation of cultural diversity, and the protection of traditional knowledge and practices.

Sravani Ravinuthala
WritingLaw » Law Notes » What Is Geographical Indication and Its Examples in India? Law Study Material
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